Polk wrestlers earn honors at conference tournamentPublished 11:13pm Monday, February 3, 2014
By Mark Schmerling
Polk County varsity wrestlers earned two second-place spots, and two third-place finishes, in Friday, Jan. 31’s Western Highlands Conference tournament at Owen High School. The event “did not go the way I had anticipated,” said Wolverines’ coach Phillip Miller.
Regardless, Polk will send nine wrestlers to the Feb. 14/15 regional tournament, also at Owen. Miller expects at least four of those will have a good chance of reaching the state tournament, to be held Feb. 20-22, in Greensboro, N.C.
Chase Emory (132 pounds), Dustin Calvert (138 pounds) and Chase McMurray (heavyweight pounds), all recorded first-round wins. Franklin Sandoval (152 pounds) lost his opening bout, 7-4, and could not record a win through the evening. Anthony Marino (21-10) earned a first-round bye at 145 pounds, then won two of three contests to place third, defeating a Madison wrestler, 9-2, in the consolation finals.
McMurray reached the finals, to face Owen’s Carter Grove, and appeared to pin Grove, before the officials saw blood on the mat, and stopped the bout momentarily.
When the action resumed, McMurray found himself on his back, and couldn’t escape. “As soon as Chase went on his back, there was blood everywhere,” Miller said. “They (the officials) said they didn’t see it.”
McMurray was visibly upset with the outcome.
How did McMurray (17-8) find himself on his back?
“He tried to roll him (Grove), and got caught,” Miller explained, noting that at heavyweight, it’s usually “pin, or get pinned.”
Calvert (17-13) pinned his first opponent, then defeated his Maloney High School opponent, 4-0. In the finals, he lost to Mitchell’s Devon Rowe. Overall, Mitchell placed first in team points.
Emory (30-10), a freshman, won three of four bouts, beginning with an opening-round pin. In his next match, he led, 3-2, at one point, but lost, 9-3. He wound up placing third.
“Friday was not a good day for us,” Miller admitted. “It’s a learning process.”
He had nothing but praise for his wrestlers, who, in spite of giving up many forfeit points during dual meets, wrestled hard, even though they might not make up the point difference.
“They all wrestle hard, and you can’t expect more than that,” Miller noted.
Going to the regional conference will be Emory, Calvert, Marino, Sandoval (15-10), Damien Cantrell (10-6 at 170 pounds), Jerry Cox (16-11), Gabe Lail (8-15), Marquise Lipscomb (10-16 at 220) and McMurray.
While Cantrell, last year’s third-place finisher in South Carolina, did not place on Friday.
“He’s as good as they come, when he wants to,” said Miller.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Cantrell was not at his sharpest at Owen.
Seeding information for regional competition will be announced late this week.